Adnan Oktar, better known as Harun Yahya in Malaysia, has been idolised by many Malaysian Muslims for the past ten years. He became renowned for his conspiracy theory-books like Perished Nations and The Atlas Of Creation which some Muslims here consider as valid sources.
The Turkish author considers himself as an Islamic Creationist and, as if taking a page from American Televangelists, became an infamous television preacher. What’s weird (or maybe not, if you consider how women are treated in the some parts of the world) was that, in his show, he would always surround himself with female devotees whom he referred to as “kittens”. Some people have described him as the “most notorious cult leader in Turkey”. He was even the subject of a documentary by Vice‘s Broadly where they labelled his teachings as “weird” and “feminist”.
According to his website, Oktar has written more than 300 books, translated into 73 languages, including one under his pen-name, Harun Yahya, in which he argues that Darwin’s theory of evolution is the root of global terrorism.
Skip to 2018, according to NST, Turkish police have arrested Oktar and more than 160 of his followers in dawn raids across Turkey on Wednesday, saying they were suspected of forming a criminal gang, fraud and sexual abuse. Officers from the financial crimes section carried out raids in five provinces and are still searching some properties, Istanbul police said in a statement.
Oktar runs his own television channel, A9 which occasionally broadcasts him dancing with his “kittens” and singing with young men, or, his “lions”. In February, Turkey’s television watchdog suspended a television programme hosted by Oktar that blended theological discussion and dancing, saying it violated gender equality and women’s rights.
Hürriyet Daily News said police raided Oktar’s house at Cengelkoy, detaining him and his guards who tried to resist and flee. The daily also reported that according to a former follower of Oktar’s cult, the “kittens” carry two pistols on them “as rape is common” amongst followers, and even children have fallen victim to this. Now that the cat, err, kittens are out of the bag, it has even surfaced that the women surrounding him and dancing with him during his sermons are highly educated with respectable degrees, which makes one wonder what are they doing with Oktar?
Police said they had so far arrested 166 people out of 235 sought suspects. In the past, Oktar accused British intelligence of requesting Turkish authorities to take action against him.
Many Malaysians are still shocked as he left quite an impact in our community. You can still read his columns on News Straits Times (yes, somehow he was a contributing columnist), his last piece was as recent as April this year where he decried the West for Iraq’s post-war situation.
Although this is just the start of what looks to be a long and sensationalised trial in Turkey, I can’t help but think if Oktar will be the “kitten” now.
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